In Virginia of all places... please send a letter to your Senators about this...
The Honorable Senator George Allen
Washington, DC 20510-4604
RE: Recent Reported BATFE Abuses in Richmond
August 18, 2005
Dear Senator Allen:
I am writing to inform you that the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has alerted its members of recent abuses by The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) at Showmasters Gun show in Richmond the weekend of Aug 12, 2005. Calls made to BATFE, Richmond State Police, and officials at Showmasters, as well first hand reports by VCDL members present at the event, confirm that the actions took place.
As an American and a Virginian, I am deeply alarmed by the events that took place and I would appreciate if your office would call upon BATFE to explain the actions that transpired and, if appropriate, be held accountable for what may appear to be violations of professional practice and perhaps law, i.e. harassment and the conduct of surveys by Government officers and officials which result in the release of non-public, private information related to private firearm purchases.
The VCDL member alert is presented here detailing some of the specific actions and abuses that took place:
VCDL Alert Aug 18, 2005:
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE), who
seem to go out of their way to alienate gun owners with their
heavy-handedness, behaved in a shameful manner this last weekend at
the Showmasters' gun show in Richmond.
I had reports from members of police going to their houses while the
member was waiting for their approval to purchase a gun at the show!
The police asked the spouse and other family members questions about
the purchases and filled in a survey! "Did you know your husband was
going to a gun show today?" "Did you know your husband was going to
buy a gun today?" and many other such questions.
If no one was home at the gun purchaser's house, the police went to
the neighbors! "Did you know that your neighbor was buying a gun
today? How do you feel about him doing so?"
One member, who was carrying a personal gun to sell, was approached
by BATFE and taken to a car while they checked him out. The officer
said in front of Showmasters' management, "Did you know you need a
business license to sell a gun at this show? I have seen you at a
lot of shows - are you in the business of selling guns? I think you
are." That's called a fishing expedition and intimidation. In the
end they let the VCDL member go because their fish hooks came up
They had over 17 BATFE agents at that show. Richmond and Henrico had
a large number of officers running to the homes of anyone purchasing
a handgun to ask questions.
I guess Mayor Wilder is flush with cash all of a sudden. Too bad he
didn't use that money to put all those cops into the rougher
neighborhoods of Richmond, instead of harassing the decent citizens
who buy guns at a gun show.
And, if you are sitting down, the main BATFE agent at the show told
Showmasters' management that Richmond was going to be the model for
this kind of behavior across the nation!!!
BUT, THERE IS GOOD NEWS.
Steve Elliott, who heads up C&E Gun Shows and is affiliated with
Showmasters, along with Annette Gelles, who heads up Showmasters,
went to Washington with some lawyers to get this straightened out on
Monday. (BTW, Steve told me that he has spent in excess of $10,000
this year on legal fees fighting this kind of abuse.)
Steve and Annette were told by the BATFE in DC that BATFE would no
longer be sending officers to people's houses who were purchasing a
firearm and that what happened in Richmond should not have happened.
We will be watching carefully to see if BATFE keeps its word or not.
Report any such abuse immediately to VCDL, along with the officer's
name, badge number, and department.”
Senator Allen, as always, my family appreciates your consistent support of the 2nd Amendment and thanks you greatly for your excellent service to our great Commonwealth and Nation.
Fraid I beat you to it, Hank.
LOL-- that's okay. I am just glad someone did.. seemed to urgent an issue to take the time to see if it had posted in the GD yet....